When considering what types of materials to utilize in your residential cabinetry, there are many options to choose from. These options (and subsequent choices) will impact a variety of considerations such as durability, price, availability, and style or aesthetic quality.
In this blog, we will focus on wood (and byproduct) material options. This is not to diminish the feasibility or popularity of materials like laminates or thermofoils, but we’ll save them for another discussion.
Wood cabinetry is timeless, durable, warm, and endearing. It adds beauty to your home while increasing its value. In our experience are Gulf Cabinetry, the following materials are the most requested and installed with success.
Hardwoods are a natural material derived from harvesting trees. While there may be more environmentally friendly options, nothing can replicate the awesomeness of nature. The inherent variation (color, textures, grains, characteristics) in a variety of popular species like Oak, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Burch, and Pine, have never lost their luster or popularity.
Hardwoods are highly durable and strong. They can be repaired and re-finished with care and thus can last for many years. However, they are expensive and can be suspect to water damage and humidity. Manufactures often offset these negative attributes by utilizing alternate materials for a cabinet’s box construction. This can save money, create a lighter end-product, and mitigate the effects of moisture. Despite these concerns, many doors, drawers and even cabinet frames are still produced in hardwood because of is beauty and popularity.
Plywood is a manufactured product, created by laminating thin layers of wood in alternating directions, achieving a strong, durable, moisture resistant, versatile, and relatively cost-effective material. This makes plywood highly advantageous for the box construction of cabinetry. Painted, it can be utilized for the high visibility areas (doors/drawers, etc.) in inexpensive cabinetry but it cannot compete with the appeal of hardwood.
Particle board is very inexpensive when compared to plywood. It is not moisture friendly, nor does it have the strength of plywood. It will sag if not braced properly or it is subjected to uneven weight distribution. It should not be utilized anywhere beyond the sides and back of the cabinetry.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) gained popularity in recent years as the price of plywood has surged. It is made from very small fibers (compared to particle board) which increases its strength, durability, and resistance to moisture and temperature changes. It is warp resistant, and its finish takes paint well. For these reasons, it can be used in the production of doors and drawers.
High Density Fiberboard (HDF)
A recent improvement upon MDF, High Density Fiberboard (HDF) is composed of super-compressed wood fibers that are mechanically bonded. The material will not expand or contract as much as hardwood, thus it is gaining popularity in painted finishes as it minimizes cracks, crevices, mineral streaks, and color variation. Additionally, it typically costs less than hardwood. It is especially advantageous in mitered doors and drawers as this is where expansion can be most noticeable.
We find that the most sought-after combination of the above material options continues to be hardwood for the high visibility areas and plywood for the box construction. Contact our design team to determine your cabinet material needs customized to meet your budget, functionality, and desired finish quality. Call us today at 813-652-0938.